Underpass murder trial beginsBy Becky Barnes
November 19, 2012
A 'jealous' and 'controlling' boyfriend bludgeoned his girlfriend to death and left her battered body in a Bracknell underpass, a court heard.
Pakistani-national Muhammad Shafi, 28, of Basemoors, Bullbrook, is on trial today at Reading Crown Court for the murder of Thai-born Tuanjai Sprengel, 43, of the same address, who was found dead on Sunday, May 27.
Shafi denies murdering the woman he planned to marry.
Alan Blake, prosecuting, told a jury of eight women and four men this morning, how Shafi stabbed Ms Sprengel in the neck with a kitchen knife and then battered her to death with metal tin snips, similar to pliers.
The court heard how Ms Sprengel died from at least nine blows to the head and suffered multiple fractures to her skull, serious brain injuries and broken fingers where it is thought she tried to defend herself.
The 43-year-old was found in a pool of blood in Bay Drive underpass in Bracknell by cyclist Peter Page who was on his way home from work at just after 5am.
Mr Blake showed the jury CCTV footage of the couple at Ladbroke's bookmakers in Bracknell on the afternoon of Saturday, May 26.
He said staff at the branch, where the couple were said to be regulars, estimated the couple gambled away £1,000 on the roulette machine in a trip lasting around eight hours.
The court heard how the couple were dropped home at around midnight by a friend but Mr Blake showed CCTV footage of two people walking from the direction of the house towards the underpass at between 3am and 4am.
Mr Blake claims the two figures are Shafi and Ms Sprengel.
The jury heard how Charlotte Lenthall walked through the underpass at just before 5am and saw a man and woman sitting nearby.
Mr Blake said Ms Lenthall claims she heard two screams but assumed it was a domestic argument and carried on walking to work.
It was later when she returned home and saw London Road had been cordoned off and reports on the news that she reported what she had seen to the police.
The court will hear from prosecution witnesses over the next two days.
The trial is expected to run into next week.